Techs Rock Candidate Profiles - Diesel

Techs Rock Candidate Profiles – Diesel

Today's profiles are actively servicing heavy-duty vehicles in the Southwest.

TechForce Foundation’s Techs Rock Awards is an awards program recognizing both technical students’ and professional technicians’ commitment to the profession. Honorees serve as true role models, inspiring the next generation and fueling the pipeline of future technicians.

Today we present profiles of the Future Technician and Working Technician finalists in the Diesel category.

The public is invited to meet the Finalists and vote for the Future Tech and Working Tech Grand Prize Winners now until February 28th at TechForce.org/TechsRock.

FUTURE TECHNICIAN

Alejandra Rivas, Western Technical College, El Paso, TX

Who is Alejandra?

Alejandra Rivas is a student at Western Technical College and a technician at Love’s Travel Stops in El Paso, Texas.

Why Alejandra was nominated:

Alejandra nominated herself for the Techs Rock Awards. She writes, “Thank you for… the opportunity to represent the true spirit of a tech that rocks!”

Why she wants to be a technician:

Alejandra says, “In early 2022, I made the decision to pursue my passion for Diesel Technology by working at my father’s company, Jo-Par. Despite the job’s long hours and demanding nature, I established a reputation within the transportation industry for my dedication and expertise.

The community recognized me as the little girl who used to accompany her father many years ago, and they witnessed my growth as I enrolled in school to pursue an AOS in Diesel Technology. Being a woman in a male-dominated industry has presented its challenges, but my determination and commitment allowed me to excel.”

Alejandra’s accomplishments:

My passion and determination to grow and learn in the industry have allowed me to advance and be promoted through 5 level positions to become a certified mechanic in my company in under 11 months.

I am proud to have earned a place on the Dean’s List and achieved the highest rank among my peers through my exceptional 4.0 GPA and impeccable attendance.

[My employer] awarded me the 2023 Learning with Loves Scholarship, [and I received] the 2022 and 2023 Business and Professional Women Scholarships and the 2023 Women Tech’s Rock Scholarship from the TechForce Foundation.

Making a positive impact:

Being the only female in my class, my academic achievements and willingness to mentor others earned me the respect and acceptance of my classmates and made me the student others seek when needing help with their studies.

Having earned the trust of my peers, I organized and initiated a tutoring program with the goal of preparing for the ASE tests – a nationally recognized certification for automotive technicians. Through this program, which lasted one month and a half, my peers and I met three times per week for one-hour sessions before class. By creating an inclusive and supportive environment that considered the language barriers that my peers and I faced, we were able to learn new educational strategies and material, resulting in all involved passing the five entry-level ASE tests.

My manager and colleagues often use me as an example and motivation for new employees and entrusted me with training responsibilities.

I had the privilege to participate in the Career Day event at Horizon Heights Elementary School, where I showcased my industry and job to more than 40 classes of students, inspiring both young girls and boys to dream big and consider pursuing careers in the STEM fields. Motivated by the support from organizations such as Business and Professional Women (BPW), I am committed to giving back to the community.

I have actively collaborated with BPW to raise funds for young women aspiring to pursue higher education. With their trust, I will initiate a young BPW organization with a new generation of professional women to further provide financial assistance to college and university women in our community. I fervently believe that by empowering these individuals, we can bridge the gender gap in every industry, fostering a diverse and inclusive workforce for the future.

WORKING TECHNICIAN

Christopher Heil, TA Trucking Service, Tonopah, AZ

Who is Christopher?

Christopher Heil is an ASE-certified medium heavy-duty truck technician who services trucks with TA Truck Service both in the bay and on the side of the road. Christopher is a US Army veteran working towards achieving ASE Master Technician status.

What Christopher likes about being a technician:

Christopher says, “I work on the big trucks, the 18-wheelers, to keep America moving. I work both in the bay and on the side of the road. We keep America rolling by repairing heavy-duty trucks so they can deliver their loads on time. [Trucks deliver] most everything consumers use, even the parts we use to repair these trucks. Food, furniture, medical supplies–you name it. It most likely arrived or was transported by truck at one point.

Being a professional technician and repairing and properly maintaining these units benefits everyone by delivering goods on time and protecting the environment, especially with the ever-advancing after-treatment systems on these trucks. With all the electronics, in addition to the mechanical aspect and the air delivery systems, technicians must stay up to date to meet the needs of the drivers of these units. Big rigs run 24V7V365, and so do technicians. Whether it is in the bay or on the side of the road, we work together with the drivers to keep America rolling.”

Why Christopher was nominated:

Christopher was nominated by a colleague at TA Truck Center. The nominator writes, “His drive and passion for what he does is contagious when taking care of these big rigs, making the customers happy, and keeping our roads safer one semi-truck at a time. He is personable with his coworkers, extremely generous with his time, and always willing to lend a helping hand to any guest or coworker. Honestly, I can’t say enough about him or his character. It truly is second to none, and I have the pleasure of working with and learning from him every shift, and I am very grateful.

Chris is always willing to stay late or come in early, take care of our customers, and support the management team at a moment’s notice. In 2023, Chris didn’t take a vacation or use PTO; the man never missed a shift or was late. In this day and age, that is so rare to find!”

Christopher’s accomplishments:

Christopher is ASE-certified and working towards Master Technician status.

His nominator praised Christopher’s skill as a technician, “Chris has seen things on DOT inspections that other techs have looked at and just passed. I heard directly from a driver last night that drivers appreciate his candor and ability to relay information to them even when the bill increases for repairs. He is meticulous. His attention to detail is nothing I’ve seen before. He takes the time and care to do the job right the first time to company and federal standards.”

Making a positive impact:

Christopher’s nominator explained his positive impact in the shop, “Chris isn’t afraid to stop what he’s doing and lend a hand to anyone or brainstorm when it comes to solving problems in any situation. That is just the way he’s wired. Not only does he want to do better, he wants the people around him to succeed. I’ve seen him help many guests at the drop of a hat when they pull up to the bays with questions, and it’s the same with me. I’m new to this side of the business. I know I’ve asked him hundreds of questions, and not once has he made me feel like a bother or less than.”

Christopher reflected on the importance of his work to everyone, from drivers to the American public. “Not only do we help keep the trucks rolling, but we also help the drivers. The modern sleeper cab is the driver’s home away from home, and they live there for the majority of their time. If the truck breaks down and the engine won’t run, then the air conditioning won’t work, and that’s not good on a hot day, and if it’s cold outside, the heater won’t work. Also, trucks often break down in unfavorable locations, such as the middle of the highway or in city traffic. A steer tire blowout during rush hour or a brake lock up in the entrance to a distribution center… These are the kinds of things a road call technician helps with.

We also provide DOT inspections to ensure the tractor-trailers on the road are FMCSA compliant and, more importantly, safe for the operator and everyone on the road.

Another challenging aspect of this profession is most big trucks employ air brakes and air systems. Keeping these trucks safe and in operating condition is a daunting task. Drivers often speak of driving 500 miles or more a day, so fixing the truck right the first time is important because these trucks go coast to coast, and some even leave the country. Drivers count on us to fix their trucks right, and to value their time.

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